Thiruvananthapuram: The Opposition parties in the state on Thursday demanded resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy after the high court dismissed his government's plea to withdraw prosecution in the 23-year-old palmolein import graft case.
CPI-M veteran and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly VS Achuthanandan, who has been fighting legal battles against the Congress-led government in the case, said Chandy "has no moral right" to continue as the Chief Minister.
"Chandy should quit the post if he has any iota of morality left in him," he said. CPI State Secretary Panniyam Raveendran, while demanding the resignation of Chandy, said the court verdict was virtually a chargesheet against the government. Chandy took initiative to withdraw the case as he "feared" that his role in the deal also would come out, he alleged.
He was the finance minister in the UDF government headed by Congress veteran late K Karunakaran that inked the deal for import of palmolein in 1992 that allegedly caused a loss of Rs 2.33 crore to the state exchequer. BJP State President V Muraleedhran said continuation of Chandy as Chief Minister was actually a challenge to the justice system.
Meanwhile, Congress leader PC Vishunath, MLA, said the deal had not caused any loss to the state exchequer. The party had always maintained it was a politically motivated case. The high court on Thursday rejected the state government's appeal challenging a Thrissur Vigilance Court order dismissing its application to withdraw the case.
The case relates to alleged irregularities in the import of about 15,000 tonnes of palmolein from a Malaysian company by the then K Karunakaran led UDF government in 1991-92.